April 13, 2010

Facing The Dark Side: Bipartisan Accountability For The Empire's Crimes

Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good. - Gandhi

On the Sunday after the 9/11 attacks, Vice-President Cheney appeared on Meet The Press, where he famously told the late Tim Russert the following:
We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. We’ve got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we’re going to be successful. That’s the world these folks operate in, and so it’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective.
Cheney's fascination with the dark side has produced a country that fears shadowy villains, and a society that, on the surface, is psychologically unable to examine the slimy details of what the dark side truly entails, and who governs it. The election of Obama did not stop America's dance with death in the dark side, in fact, the music of violence is now even louder, and the movement of the empire's steps are speeding up. It seems like the party in the war room won't crash until the roof caves in. But we have to avert that. Obama is already singing the tune of a war with Iran. And we all know, that the ramifications of an attack on Iran for humanity and modern civilization are beyond unthinkable.

The suffering caused by such a earth-shattering attack will either unleash mass love, or mass violence. And my money is on the latter. But since I don't have any money, I'm working to unleash mass love. That is the reason why I write. If I don't try to create a deeper public understanding of the crises that are currently facing us, and expand the potentialities for forgiveness, justice, and societal restoration, then I will have let myself down.

In order to gain some understanding, we can't be afraid to examine the many troubling truths about the lack of democracy, justice, and liberty in contemporary society. To be clear, America's fall into tyranny started generations ago. Many people believe that the creation of the Federal Reserve began the whole ordeal, but even before 1913, state terrorism was an everyday reality for Black Americans, so we have to ask ourselves, when has America ever been truly free for all its peoples? No era comes to mind.

A lot of progressives have the unhistorical notion that the Bush Administration is responsible for anything and everything that is bad in America. But that view is way too narrow. The CIA operated in the dark side long before Cheney, so although Cheney is best suited to put on a Darth Vader mask, the derailment of American democracy and the attack on public liberty did not not begin during the Bush Administration, and it has not even begun to reach its apex.

Joan Mellen, author of "A Farewell to Justice" believes that the crisis of democracy was brought about by the assassination of President Kennedy, a sitting head of state, and the immediate cover-up by the American government and the mass media. In her speech entitled "How the Failure To Identify, Prosecute and Convict President Kennedy's Assassins Has Led To Today's Crisis Of Democracy," delivered on January 24, 2006 in New York, Mellen said:
I would like to suggest that the truth about the Kennedy assassination, far from being a matter of interest only to historians, and not even to most of them, will help us understand how we have arrived at a point where people as respectable as New York attorney Martin Garbus are comparing the current U.S. government with the rise of fascism in the mid-twentieth century. It's my belief that the present state of our political culture is a direct result of the fact that those responsible for the murder of President Kennedy have never been brought to justice.

To sum up: “A Farewell To Justice” suggests that the clandestine service of the CIA not only covered up the truth about the Kennedy assassination - that's easy to demonstrate from the four million documents now residing at the National Archives - but organized the event itself. That the CIA escaped without penalty, this extraordinary fact, has been integrated over these forty-two years into the body politic. It has produced a political culture where the unthinkable has become accepted practice. Meaningful freedom of the press has fallen into serious jeopardy.

Mellen also mentions the ever-dominant National Security State, which pretends to shepherd the weak and protect them from foreign enemies, but as it turns out, the dangers facing America's liberties and well-being originate from the military establishment itself. As Stephanie Westbrook writes in "Occupied Washington, DC," the always present military establishment does not serve America's national interest. People who are kept in constant fear are less secure, and less willing to defend themselves because they believe that they require protectors to get out of any dangerous situation. And the corruption of violence by the country's ungrateful leaders trickles down to potential revolutionaries who view the path of violence as the only path to correct government abuse and overthrow a tyranny. As Westbrook says:
The signs of militarism in our country are ever-present to the point of becoming virtually invisible, while subconsciously persuading us to accept violence and war as not only a suitable solution to conflict, but the only one.
Commentators on the Left fear that right-wing militias could resort to violence to overthrow such corrupt leaders, but rarely do they take a step further, and critique the full-blown police state, that has been masked with a young and liberal face. They are forgetting a key lesson from Martin Luther King Jr. How can you object against violence by the oppressed, and say nothing of the violence by the government oppressors? Dark deeds are not being advanced in foreign lands alone, but in places all across America, in Waco, LA, New York, and every other city. It's not just the CIA who acts in the dark side, but many government agencies do.

Wendy McElroy lists the characteristics of a police state in her article, "When is a government a police state," and according to her, America is a police state, but the judgment is not final. There is still hope she says. But not if we shut our eyes to agencies like the BATFE and crimes like the Waco slaughter. McElroy:
In America today, enforcement agencies often act with no accountability whatsoever. For example, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) is notorious for invading homes without warrants, destroying property and harassing legitimate gun owners. Even the dozens of deaths caused by BATFE's 1992 armed seige and storming of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas did not bring down penalties against BATFE or its agents. Instead, BATFE continues to operate with neither transparency nor accountability. Indeed, it operates virtually 'in secret', which is another characteristic of a police state.
If those on the Left wants to get serious, then they must join forces with anti-war libertarians and conservatives, and make it their chief aim to hold such corrupt agencies accountable to the public, and end the illegal wars overseas. Silence in the face of institutional murder and crime has undermined America's democracy, national pride, and the people's liberties. It is no longer acceptable to tolerate wide-scale government abuse and fraud. A new political coalition, made of principled progressives and principled libertarians, along with the many politically independents, is not a pipe dream anymore, it can become a reality.

"The Accountability Movement," as described by authors Kristina Borjesson, Charlotte Dennett, and Peter Dale Scott, can become politically feasible as public anger continues to rises, and the crimes of the government are further exposed.
People across the political spectrum can come to very substantial agreements and move forward in union. Justice is not a partisan issue. Everyone has a stake in creating a just world. Where we go wrong is when we try to recruit others to our political sides, and get mad if they refuse to join us. Many progressives are eying disgruntled students, the unemployed, and returning vets, as potential progressive fighters, but what they don't seem to realize is that it's not about left vs. right anymore. It's about preserving the Constitution, restoring civil liberties, restricting government bailouts to Wall Street, and holding America's criminal leaders accountable for their crimes. I'm sure a wide political tent can be created to voice that agenda. And it doesn't have to a progressive label or a libertarian label on it.

The country is in such a dangerous state that stationing oneself one on political camp, and fighting for potential converts to one's side, is anti-productive, and very stupid. Party, class, and race differences must be laid aside for the country, the Constitution and the rule of law. To say that America, and Canada as well, is under a military occupation is not as paranoid as it once sounded. This blog describes the twenty reasons why America might be a fascistic police state. The good news that can come from such a situation is that under an occupation, people generally tend to come together to throw the occupiers out, and restore popular sovereignty and their liberties. The problem is that the propaganda in America is so huge that to suggest the country is under a military occupation makes you an outcast. But I hope that will change, as people's experience and knowledge of the present evil system grows, and come to discover that the national interest can be served by coming together, and then to collectively face the national dark side rather than deny the truth and divide oneself along traditional class, race, and party lines.

When WWII ended, George Orwell wrote that the people of Europe learned a very significant lesson about the reality of national survival under Nazi rule. "The experience of German occupation," said Orwell, "taught the European peoples something that the colonial peoples knew already, namely, that class antagonisms are not all-important and that there is such a thing as national interest." In a fully-expressed police state, Americans may too realize that, and even reach into its own history to see how a people united in liberty can defy tyranny.